When Kids Fly Solo

Author: Kaleel Sakakeeny

Tags : Blogs, Kids, Permission Forms

Harriet Baskas of MSNBC suggests that when your child travels alone by plane there are many things to consider. First and foremost, she says, be sure your child is ready to fly solo? Not all kids are created equally, obviously, and one 13 year old may be really ready and another may be just terrified.

Assess your child’s readiness honestly

Flight attendant Sara Keagle, who writes the Flyingpinto.com blog told Baskas that parents must keep in mind that “flight attendants have their regular duties to perform and we don't watch unaccompanied minors 100 percent of the time. If a child is shy and isn't comfortable speaking up for themselves then they probably shouldn’t be traveling alone."

Then, prepare your child for the journey.
What might they need:
• Snacks, spending money, extra clothes
• A cell phone or calling card with a list of contact and emergency numbers.

Make sure your child knows what to expect on the plane — from the dings and the announcements to the fact that they’ll be expected to turn off games and other electronic devices during take-off and landing.

Providing back-up is crucial
Parents or guardians are allowed to escort a child flying alone through security and out to their gate, but be sure you arrive at the airport early enough to fill out the paperwork and walk through security together.

Baskas advises not to rush off once your child boards the plane — stay in the gate area until that flight leaves the ground and is well on its way.
If the plane returns to the gate for a mechanical problem or weather delay, you’ll want to be there to reassure your child. The same advice applies at the other end: make sure the person picking up your child knows what’s expected of them and is at the airport well ahead of the airplane’s scheduled arrival.

Other Tips:
• Don’t book your child on the last flight of the day, even the airline allows it. If that flight gets delayed, your child could be stranded at the airport.
• Try to book children only on direct and non-stop flights even if those tickets cost more and even if that means driving a few hours to a different airport to catch a direct flight.

And…don’t confuse the airline with a babysitter!!

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.